East End Inter-provincial Bridge

May 21, 2013 Update:

On May 14th, 2013, the NCC announced the results of the Phase 2B study as decided by the “Evaluation Committee” regarding the “technically preferred corridor” for a new inter-provincial bridge in the east end of the NCR. The choice was Kettle Island (via Aviation Parkway-Montée Paiement). Kettle Island was preferred over 2 other corridors under consideration, both of which were located further east. This is basically a re-confirmation of the Phase 1 study which also recommended Kettle Island in 2008. Previous studies in the 1990’s had also arrived at similar conclusions.

ASH was present at all stages of the study and attended the May 14th announcement to the public consultation group which consisted mostly of representatives of community groups that were adjacent to the 3 different east end corridors under evaluation.

Reaction was swift with local politicians at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels for the affected area all declaring that they would not support a bridge at Kettle Island. Reasons given included that these areas were too built up as residential areas to be appropriate for such a corridor and that the proposed bridge was not providing an adequate solution to the volumes of inter-provincial trucks in the downtown.

 
Watson wants to explore truck-only toll tunnel rather than Kettle Island bridge
MetroNews Canada, May 14, 2013

Watson’s comments came in response to the National Capital Commission’s preference for a new inter-provincial bridge along the Kettle Island corridor. The bridge is partially an effort to reduce truck congestion in the downtown core — Watson’s against …

 
Madeleine Meilleur: A bridge at Kettle Island is not an option!

Here is what the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur says:

I am very disappointed in the National Capital Commission’s recent recommendation for the east-end bridge. Among other things, it does not address the issue of eliminating truck traffic in the city core.

The building of a bridge between Ottawa and Gatineau has been my priority for many years, but I’ve always maintained that a new bridge should not disrupt established residential neighbourhoods. Any inter-provincial bridge needs to get the trucks out of downtown, and any proposal that does not respect the local communities and does not get the trucks out of residential areas is not a solution.

I will continue to fight to protect all residential neighbourhoods and to encourage better public transit to and from the city core, and I will recommend that the Ontario government NOT FUND a bridge at Kettle Island.

Here is what the Honourable Mauril Bélanger adds:

In 1995, I stated publicly that I was against a bridge at Kettle Island, via the Aviation Parkway. I have not changed my mind and I am always against this option because it only spreads a problem: that of heavy trucks in the core of our nation’s capital – but does not solve it.

In the absence of a sound planning of our transportation corridors from the NCC, I add my voice to those who advocate the abandonment of this project and urge the Ontario government not to finance a bridge at Kettle Island.

The issue of trucks in the downtown continues to be a problematic issue. This study had indicated that a bridge at Kettle Island would attract about 1/3 of the trucks from downtown. (Based on projected 2031 inter-provincial truck volumes this would reduce the problem on Rideau/King Edward Ave to about 2500 trucks per day (vs 2600 per day in 2013). Attempts to achieve greater reductions than this by banning inter-provincial trucks from Rideau/King Edward which did not already have a stop along the way in the downtown could result in a decrease to 900 trucks per day meaning a reduction of 1600 additional trucks/day from Rideau/King Edward. The study then predicted that these 1600 trucks would redistribute themselves by splitting 66/33 with only 33% preferring to go to the new bridge and the other 66% preferring to shift to the Chaudières Bridge. This would more than double the volume of trucks on that downtown corridor compared to the volumes of trucks experienced there today. To avoid this scenario, attempts by ASH to convince the NCC and it’s study partners to evaluate the economic impact on trucking operations of also banning trucks from the Chaudières corridor so that all non-local inter-provincial trucks would be shifted to a proposed new east end bridge proved to be fruitless.

If east end politicians are not in support of a new bridge at Kettle Island even though several very rigorous and detailed studies over 2 decades have repeatedly confirmed this is the preferred route, then what do they propose to do about the problem of inter-provincial trucks cutting through downtown streets? The study predicted that today’s problem of 3600 trucks per day (2600 on Rideau and King Edward and 1000 on Chaudières) would grow to a problem of 5800 trucks per day by 2031. ASH will continue to raise the profile of this downtown truck problem and press politicians of all levels to be more proactive at finding a path forward. Further delays in dealing with this truck problem are unacceptable.

The detailed evaluation report which explains the decision making process used to demonstrate why the Kettle I. corridor is the best route is presented in this Evaluation Report. The evaluation scored all of the corridors with a weighted evaluation of factors such as transportation, social, cultural, environmental, land-use, cost and economic spin-off effect. The study claimed that even if the weighting factors were varied significantly more towards measuring social and environmental effect that Kettle Island would still score consistently better than the other corridors.

The proposed project costs for the Kettle Island bridge were updated as 1.1B$. This cost is composed of approximately 50% bridge costs, 25% new road work on the approaches to the bridge and 25% for engineering and contingency. The proposed bridge consists of 2 traffic and 1 dedicated transit lane in each direction. The roadway approaches on both the Ottawa and Gatineau side need to be modified and widened, significant interchange modifications required at the 417 and 50 interchanges, and overpasses would be built when the corridor crosses over Ogilvy Road on the Ottawa side and Blvd Maloney on the Quebec side.

June 5, 2012 Status:

The NCC together with the Ontario and Quebec Ministries of Transport have commissioned a series studies to determine the best possible location for a new crossing of the Ottawa River.  The Action Sandy Hill transportation representative is an active member of the Public Consultation Group (PCG) whose role is to represent various community interests.  Phase 1 of this study concluded in Jan 2009, and recommended that the best location for a new crossing would be Kettle Island, connecting on the Ottawa side via the Aviation Parkway to the 174-417 split intersection.  Negative reaction to this was swift and a second study was then initiated which re-introduced two of the potential crossings (about 6km further east down Highway 174), which was discounted by Phase 1 of the study.  The study was then broken into 2 phases. Phase 2A’s purpose was to consult with communities on the process to be used in phase 2B, which will narrow down from the now, 3 potential crossing locations, to a single preferred location.  The reason for Phase 2A was due the view held by communities in the east end that they were not given a sufficient opportunity to comment on what evaluation criteria were to be used to identify the Phase 1 evaluation and recommendation. Phase 2A was completed in June 2010 and Phase 2B began in the summer of 2011.  Phase 2B will result with the choice of a single preferred location.  This decision is expected in late summer/early fall 2012, and will be followed by a detailed design and environmental assessment of the preferred crossing would run into 2013.

The main purpose for a new bridge crossing is to divert trucks out of the Waller-Rideau-King Edward corridor, and to accommodate forecast increases in inter-provincial travel demand over the next 50-year time horizon.

The eventual construction of a new crossing could be of significant benefit to Sandy Hill. However, there are some concerns over just how much traffic (both car and truck) may be diverted out of downtown by any potential new crossing. Phase 1 of the study concluded that about 30-40% of the trucks currently travelling down the Waller, Rideau and King Edward corridor would be “attracted” to and prefer to take a new crossing in the east end. This leaves about 60% of the trucks still in the downtown corridor and more than 10 years from now and after spending $ 500m (the cost of the crossing + approach roadway changes as estimated in the Phase 1 study). Is it possible to go one step further and to ban trucks from Rideau/KingEdward corridor, and force the remaining 60% of trucks to take the longer route over the new east end bridge?

To date, no comprehensive study has been performed which estimates the potential increase in cost imposed on the business community of such a downtown truck ban.  Similarly, no consultation with business and trucking groups has taken place to discuss potential impacts of a regulated diversion of all inter-provincial trucks to an east end bridge.  Lastly, the act of forcing all trucks to a potential new east end bridge has the side effect of moving the current 2500 trucks per day onto the City of Gatineau streets that would serve as the access to the new bridge.  This moves the truck problem from Ottawa to Gatineau. The City of Gatineau Council has already passed a resolution stating that “it will be unacceptable for all truck traffic to be moved from King Edward Avenue to Gatineau’s streets.”  If there is a risk that forcing all trucks to use a new east end bridge will not be politically or practically possible then maybe we should be looking for a different solution to this problem than a new east end bridge?

A key issue is the relative weighting of the requirements on a new crossing for getting trucks out of downtown compared with simply adding new peak hour inter-provincial car based commuting capacity.  The Action Sandy Hill transportation representative is involved in keeping forward momentum going on this initiative, and to ensure that the best possible solution to reduce the downtown cut-through truck and commuter traffic is found.

Further details can be found at the web link:  www.ncrcrossings.ca

Other groups have been formed who are opposed to some or all aspects of a potential east end bridge and have formed their own websites to explain their positions. Some of these can be found here:

http://www.ssd-ottawa.ca
http://www.stopthebridge.org
http://commonsensecrossings.com

 

Last Updated: 22-May-2013